Ahead of Black Friday, arguably the biggest global shopping day each year, Fashion Revolution has launched a report highlighting that European consumers are urging brands and governments to take the lead in the fight for sustainability within the fashion industry.
Consumers want to know more about the social and environmental impacts of their garments when shopping, and it is incumbent on brands and governments to address those issues, the research reveals.
“The pace of change by the fashion industry simply isn’t moving fast enough, and we can see this reflected in consumer attitudes,” said Sarah Ditty, Fashion Revolution’s policy director. “People have an urgent, emotional desire to know more about how their clothes are made, and that they haven’t harmed the environment, the people who made them nor were tested on animals. And they want governments to hold brands and retailers to account to ensure this happens.”
Conducted across the five largest EU markets (UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy), the findings from the study reveal that under the topic of sustainability, environmental factors such as climate change (85%) and environmental protection (88%) are considered important by the majority of people, followed by social issues such as global poverty (84%) and gender inequality (77%).
Furthermore, 72% of those surveyed said that fashion brands should do more to improve the lives of the women making their clothes – there is a gender split in opinion, however, as 81% of women surveyed think brands should tackle gender inequality, against 72% of male respondents.
Meanwhile the government should be more proactive in not only ensuring practices are established, but developing tools to communicate it back to the population, it finds.
In an era of extreme distrust in institutions, this cry for change is more relevant than ever. The report shows that the majority of people (68%) place responsibility on the government to hold fashion brands accountable for their sustainability methods. 77% think that fashion brands should be required by law to respect the human rights of everybody involved in making their products, while 75% think they should protect the environment at every stage of the supply chain. Additionally, 72% say brands should provide information about the environmental impact of their business.
“We’d like the general public, companies and governments to use our research to help drive change in the fashion industry, to better influence their peers to care more about social and environmental issues in fashion and start asking vital questions about the impacts of our clothing,” added Ditty.
How information is communicated is a vital part of the puzzle in helping consumers match their sustainability goals with actual purchase. An earlier report by Fashion Revolution also highlighted that 80% of consumers think brands should publish which factories were used to manufacture their clothes, or which suppliers they use to source their materials from (77%).
Earlier this week, fashion data platform Lyst unveiled its year in fashion report for 2018, which trackers over 100m searches on its site over the past 12 months to analyze the trends and the buzziest brands. It revealed a 47% increase in shoppers looking for items that have sustainable credentials, using terms like “vegan leather” and “organic cotton”. Veja, a French-Brazilian sneaker brand that uses sustainable that uses sustainable materials, showed a 113% year-on-year uptick on searches, for example.
How are you thinking about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.